First things first if you want to dress like a poet wear black. That’s a given. Poets exude darkness, particularly the poets worth reading. I recommend a pair of Black docker boots, thick and angry will accentuate any brooding sole. (See what I did there). Wear this with a dash of protest poems and beat poetry. And plenty of clove cigarettes.
The reader of poetry dresses often the same as the poetry they read. Romantics dress in loose flowery flowing garments, stained in grief and wine. Enlightenment readers dress smart, clever and sensible. Modernists repurpose the clothes they’re given and make it work (i.e. thrift shop maestros). And if you’ve read sixteenth century poetry you know what love is. No clue how they dress though.
And if subtlety isn’t your deal a nice book of poetry can always make an excellent accessory. Want to wear an outfit out that makes you look clever? Add some Ezra Pound to the mix or really any Lost Generation pretty. Want the miserable romantic look? Percy Shelley. Hopeful romantic? Pablo Neruda love poems.
Just know there are rules. Kerouac goes with any black dress. Sir Philip Sidney can’t be worn with white. The list goes on. The only real requirement is reading the poetry. Read that shit.
Written by Matthew Navey